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Bolivia moves to nationalize gas industry

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  • Bolivia moves to nationalize gas industry

    LA PAZ, Bolivia - President Evo Morales issued a decree nationalizing Bolivia's vast natural gas industry Monday, sending soldiers to occupy gas fields and threatening to evict foreign companies unless they give the Andean nation control over the entire chain of production.

    The move fulfills an election promise by the leftist president, who has forged close ties with Cuba's Fidel Castro and Venezuela' Hugo Chavez, to increase state control over Bolivia's natural resources, which he says have been "looted" by foreign companies.

    Morales sent soldiers and engineers with Bolivia's state-owned oil company to installations and fields tapped by foreign companies — including Britain's BG Group PLC and BP PLC, Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF SA, France's Total SA and Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. The companies have six months to agree to new contracts or leave Bolivia, he said......

    Bolivia moves to nationalize gas industry

  • #2

    Bolivia is to hold talks with Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela on Thursday to discuss its move to extend state control over its natural gas assets.

    Bolivian leader Evo Morales has said private energy companies must review contracts and sell their controlling stake in energy to his government.

    The move has alarmed Brazil and other key foreign investors in Bolivian gas.

    With Brazil relying on Bolivia for half its gas, stakes will be high when the leaders meet, a BBC correspondent says.

    The meeting was arranged after a conversation between Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and his Argentine counterpart, Nestor Kirchner, the Associated Press news agency reports.

    Argentina is the second biggest consumer, after Brazil, of Bolivian natural gas.

    Along with Presidents Lula, Kirchner and Morales, the Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez - a major ally of Bolivia - will also attend the summit.....

    Crisis talks on Bolivia gas move


    • #3
      Bolivia wins first round of gas battle after Brazil backs down

      Spain accepts Bolivia gas plans


      • #4
        Bolivia temporarily suspended a plan to seize oil and natural gas fields controlled by foreign companies, saying the state oil company lacks the necessary funds to execute the process, La Razon reported.

        The Hydrocarbons Ministry said in a statement last night that the government is seeking $180 million from the central bank to replenish the coffers of Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos, the state oil company, La Paz-based Razon said.

        "Very little advancements'' were made in taking over foreign-owned refineries, raising export prices for natural gas and rewriting contracts with the affected foreign companies, Razon said, citing the statement.

        Bolivia extended for 60 days the six-month talks with Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil's state-controlled oil company, over raising the price that Brazil pays for Bolivian gas exports, Razon said. Bolivian President Evo Morales seized the assets of Petrobras and other international oil companies on May 1.

        Bolivia suspends nationalization of oil fields, La Razon reports


        • #5
          Bolivia's nationalisation plans in trouble


          • #6
            LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) - President Evo Morales replaced the head of Bolivia's state oil company YPFB on Monday and gave foreign energy companies a September 1 deadline to pay new taxes outlined in the country's nationalisation.

            The Bolivian leader named a top YPFB official, Juan Carlos Ortiz, to take over from Jorge Alvarado, who faced fraud accusations.

            Ortiz previously worked for foreign energy companies including Brazil's Petrobras, the biggest investor in Bolivia's gas and oil industry, analysts said.

            The shake-up comes several weeks after Morales suspended key parts of the role of YPFB in the state takeover of Bolivia's oil and gas resources in a move analysts said highlighted the company's lack of money and technical expertise.

            The implementation of the energy nationalisation has been delayed as a cash-strapped YPFB struggles to take control of the sector.

            The government on Monday ordered the main foreign companies operating in the country to make a combined $30 million (16 million pound) tax payment by Friday, the hydrocarbons ministry said in a statement.

            As part of the nationalisation, Bolivia hiked taxes from 18 percent to up to as much as 82 percent on some companies and ordered YPFB to hold a majority stake in several foreign-owned refineries.

            The tax hike will impact multinational companies including Petrobras, Spain's Repsol YPF, France's Total and British gas and oil producer BG Group.

            The extra revenue is expected to be used to breathe fresh financial life into YPFB.

            The resignation of Alvarado, the former YPFB head, followed weeks of fraud accusations swirling around one of the most public faces of the nationalisation announced by Morales on May 1.

            Last week, Energy Minister Andres Soliz said Alvarado had violated a key part of the nationalisation process in a barter deal to exchange crude oil for diesel with Brazilian company Iberoamerica at a price well under the market value.

            Soliz said the former YPFB president signed the contract without asking for bids and without carrying out technical and legal studies as required by law.

            Alvarado had been under investigation by the attorney general's office over the deal.

            A geologist and former deputy for Morales' MAS party, Alvarado was appointed to the helm of YPFB soon after the government took office in January and charged with putting the dilapidated energy company at the heart of the sector.

            Bolivia has the second-largest natural gas reserves in South America after Venezuela.

            Bolivia's Morales replaces head of state oil firm


            • #7
              REPSOL, Spain’s largest oil and gas firm, has threatened to sue the Bolivian Government over raids on its offices in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and the arrest of one of its executives.

              The company said that its Bolivian unit, Andina, had been the victim of systematic persecution by Bolivian authorities and called the raids “unjustified”.

              “These . . . acts force Repsol to consider taking legal action at all levels, national and international,” the company said.

              Bolivian prosecutors and armed police searched Andina’s offices on Friday to look for natural gas sales contracts that they claim are fraudulent. The authorities allege that Repsol sold Bolivian gas to Petrobras, the Brazilian oil group, at prices lower than the official rate, depriving the state of tax revenues.

              The Andina employee who was arrested has since been released but Bolivian authorities are seeking the arrest of several other executives in connection with the case. Repsol insisted that the contracts in question “comply with every requirement of Bolivian law”.

              At the weekend Evo Morales, the Bolivian President, sought to reassure the Spanish Government that he wanted Repsol to stay in Bolivia. But he also insisted that his Government would not interfere in the investigation into the company.

              International firms including Britain’s BG, Repsol and Petrobras have invested more than $5 billion (£2.6 billion) developing Bolivia’s natural gas sector.

              Spanish oil firm threatens to sue Bolivia over raids on its offices


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